REVIEW: Peter Gural — Birdy’s World (LP)

Colin Jordan
3 min readDec 6, 2023

Songwriting uninformed by challenges invariably doesn’t mean as much.

That’s just my point of view. You can take it or leave it. It’s a point of view that I feel is especially instructive when hearing and discussing Philadelphia singer/songwriter Peter Gural’s new collection entitled Birdy’s World. Gural has survived recent hospitalization for mental health issues arising, in part, from substance abuse problems and it would be easy for him to write eleven songs that are diary-like recollections or reflections on the associated experiences.

URL: https://www.petergural.com/

He resists that temptation. Gural, however, draws from the trials of his recent history to inform and expand his perspective as a human being. Birdy’s World, in some ways, chronicles the growth of a soul. The fact that it engenders such a feeling while conveying an entertaining and fulfilling musical experience for its listeners further elevates the album’s worth.

“Birdy’s World”, the release’s title song, opens the song cycle on a memorable high point. The reverb running through the guitars is a hallmark of the album’s sound that will resurface in later tracks without losing any of its freshness. We don’t often hear such effects on guitars anymore; the novelty is real. There’s a strong affirmative, grateful quality emanating from this song that I can’t deny. It’s an invigorating start.

Gural keeps that initial thrust strong with the album’s second cut “Lonely Song”. The clash of the song’s vigorous trot and its lyrics/subject matter produced sparks from the first time I heard it and I still think it is one of Birdy’s World’s most successful tunes. “Ollie” embraces a similar pace and the shimmering guitar architecture filling out the performance benefits from how Gural juxtaposes it against the song’s strong drum beat. It isn’t a riff-reliant approach, either, but depends instead on one wave of notes after another.

One of the album’s most stylish excursions, “Lost Island Man” patters on light-footed percussion and beautifully eloquent guitar. The production discharges its duties quite well here with the way it represents the six-string in the song’s mix and wreaths the song in a languid, relaxed sound. Gural’s voice counterpoints it quite nicely and, in essence, forms a conversation that defines much of the song. “CARE4U” has one of the album’s most interesting arrangements. It emphasizes dynamics without ever making an overstated sonic presence; the song’s overall effect is subtle rather than pronounced.

“Flatline” and “Your Colors” provide an interesting comparison. The former finds Gural again toying with an up-tempo pace over which he lays a tale of lyrical woe that arguably represents the album’s lowest point, in some respects. Even here, however, he never precludes the possibility of hope. “Your Colors”, however, comes from an unambiguously better place. Gural’s love for the song’s subject comes through in a measured, yet affectionate fashion, and his vocals are among the album’s best.

There are numerous high points during the course of these eleven songs. We’ve discussed a few. You’ll have your opinions, to be sure, and we’re likely to agree on a number of them. I am convinced, however, that anyone who loves intelligent and heartfelt music will gravitate to Peter Gural’s Birdy’s World.

Colin Jordan

--

--

Colin Jordan

Graduate: McNeese State University, Avid Beekeeper, Deep Sea Diver & Fisherman, Horrible Golfer